Small businesses seeking to increase social media interaction with consumers should consider Pinterest, according to a 2012 social commerce study.

The joint research project by the National Retail Federation’s, comScore and the Partnering Group consultancy revealed that customers prefer Pinterest to other popular social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook for following businesses. In fact, online U.S. consumers follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on Pinterest compared to 8.5 on Twitter and 6.9 on Facebook.

Pinterest, an online bulletin board that lets users organize and share images they find on the web, has grown exponentially since its launch in March 2010. A study released earlier this year found that Pinterest had grown by 4000% between the months of June and December 2011, gaining 11 million unique hits in just one week.

Pinterest’s appeal lies in the ability to capture visual images and share them with others. Vicki Cantrell, executive director of online retailer association says Pinterest gives retailers “another channel to ‘listen’ to and interact with both existing and new customers.” She adds that businesses can benefit from Pinterest because it allows them to share an ongoing visual story with customers who in turn share the images with their friends and family members.

Switching some of their media budget to Pinterest can allow small businesses to drive more customers to their sites. Being where customers want them to be can pay great dividends for businesses, according to Nancy Messieh of “Pinterest’s audience is highly engaged and can easily contribute to your social media campaign going viral,” says Messieh.

But if you’re planning on using Pinterest to sell products, “make sure that you do more than just that with your account,” adds Messieh. “Interacting with users, or giving them useful content that benefits the, beyond what you’re trying to market or sell, will go a long way towards making you more popular on the site.”

According to comScore, the average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site, compared to 2.5 hours on Tumblr and 7 hours on Facebook.


Constine, Josh. Pinterest hits 10 million U.S. monthly uniques faster than any standalone site ever. Feb. 7, 2012.

Messieh, Nancy. “10 tips to get the most out of Pinterest for your business.” January 20, 2012

National Retail Federation. “Survey Finds Consumers Using Pinterest To Engage With Retailers More Than Facebook, Twitter. May 31, 2012.

Rubin, Courtney. “ Study Shows Consumers Prefer Pinterest and Twitter Over Facebook.” June 5, 2012.

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